Though Alessi's Paolo Cravedi was born in Italy and is based in New York, New Orleans is his real happy place.

Paolo Cravedi has a full schedule as managing director for Alessi USA (and as one of our esteemed Designers of the Year judges for 2016), but it’s no surprise that someone in charge of such a whimsical brand sees the value in breaking up work with some well-deserved play. It’s why Cravedi travels to New Orleans twice a year to soak up the art and culture—and get his fill of crawfish, of course.paolo“So many influences have melted into the culture here: African, Native American, Spanish, French, English,” says Cravedi. “It’s an American city, but you have the feeling of not being in America at all.”audubon park-newman bandstand1) Rent a bike and explore Audubon Park and its beautiful oak trees. It’s hard to believe it was once a plantation.`flickr_Dave McLaughlin2) You’ve got to try the boiled crawfish at the fairground during Jazz Fest. It is rare to find good food at a music festival, but, of course, New Orleans is an exception to the rule. Boiled crawfish are not only delicious but also a great way to socialize—expect to get your hands red!st roch3) St. Roch Market, an old seafood market from the late 1800s, has been converted into a food hall with great bites, wines, cocktails, beers, fresh-pressed juice and coffee.Press Street Station 6-28-15 cc_47664) I love grabbing a coffee at Press Street Station Café because it supports the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, one of the most important institutions in New Orleans (and anywhere else).`flickr_Morgan Paul5) The Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art is the perfect place to think, relax and read a book surrounded by beautiful art, away from the madding crowd.